Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Scientists Think Pop Music is More Depressing Now -- So We Double Checked

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 8:10 AM

click to enlarge sad_face.jpg

According to a couple of sciencey types (named Glenn Schellenberg and Christian Von Scheve), pop music has been getting steadily more depressing over the last 50 years. The pair's study -- published in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts -- analyzed over a thousand Top 40 hits from between 1965 and 2009, and found that the number of slower songs increased over time, as did the number of them songs in minor chords. Here at ASD, we were a little skeptical about the findings, so we decided to do some (not very) scientific research of our own by looking at No. 1 one songs released between 1965 and 2005, all from the last week of August (because it's, like, the last week of August). Here are the stunning results.

1965: "I Got You Babe," Sonny & Cher

Good start, pop boffins! "I Got You Babe" is is one of the feel good hits of the last century! This is the sweet, unadulterated sound of young love and unwavering optimism. The only remotely depressing thing here is Sonny Bono's helmet hair. Next!

1975: "Get Down Tonight," KC & The Sunshine Band

Well, this is most definitely going in the wrong direction. Decidedly undepressing in all its unerring perkiness and sequined glory, "Get Down Tonight" is most definitely not a bummer. Who doesn't like doing a little dance and making a little love, for crying out loud? If there is a song that sounds like doing coke in Studio 54, this is it. That might be a little depressing for some people... but only a little.

1985: "The Power of Love," Huey Lewis & The News

Woah! If this had been any of the other "Power of Love"s -- Frankie Goes to Hollywood's, Jennifer Rush's, Celine Dion's -- we'd definitely be getting on the depression tip. But no. It's the triumphant pop behemoth and Back to the Future soundtracker from Huey Lewis & the News. Fact: No one is sad when listening to Huey Lewis and thinking of Michael J Fox in his prime. Next!

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About The Author

Rae Alexandra


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"